Since March of 2020, the home fitness industry has experienced phenomenal growth. Even as gyms and fitness studios reopen to the public, at-home workouts are here to stay. Strength training at home saves time and money, and with today’s comprehensive home fitness devices, you won’t lose out on benefits by skipping the gym.
Tonal is a smart home gym that uses a cable system and digital weights for total body strength training. The X3 Bar is a total-body strength training device, which makes use of variable resistance via latex bands.
So which of the two is better suited for at-home strength gains, and which is better for you? We take a close look at X3 Bar vs Tonal to help you decide which all-around home strength training system is best for you and why.
Tonal Smart Gym for Strength Training
The Tonal home gym is an all-in-one fitness platform that offers cable-based strength training along with a variety of on-demand yoga, pilates and, cardio classes. The sleek touch screen mounts to a wall in your home and is outfitted with various accessories, including handles and bars, a bench, yoga mat, and foam roller.
So what are reviewers saying about Tonal, and how effective is it for building muscle and reducing fat? We take a look at the pros and cons of the Tonal home gym below.
Tonal Home Gym Pros
The Look: As far as home gyms go, Tonal has a nice look. The sleek device mounts to your wall and takes up about as much space as a large flat-screen TV when not in use.
The Tech: Tonal’s technology will run you through an initial assessment to judge how strong you are and set your weight recommendations accordingly. The digital weight system continues to calculate how much resistance to offer you throughout each lift. This includes a ‘spotter’ that will reduce resistance when it senses you’re having trouble.
Multiple modes change the sensation of the resistance. For example, chain mode effectively simulates the feeling of real-life chains by adding resistance at the top of each movement. Eccentric mode mimics a negative force for heavier resistance as you lower your weights.
As mentioned, Tonal’s chain mode . Smart Flex takes it the next level by optimally challenging you throughout each rep, down to the millimeter. By matching your strength and continously adding or subtracting weight, you can train with greater volume to build more muscle.
Dynamic weight settings allow you to push yourself in new ways. Eccentric mode adds weight in the strong range of the movement, increasing time under tension.
Burnout mode reduces weight a pound at a time, which helps take your muscles to complete fatigue without having to manually switch weights.
The Coaching: A built-in video camera equipped with 17 sensors gives you real-time feedback on form. This keeps you safe and keeps your movements effective. Sensors also motivate you by telling you to speed up or slow down.
The Content: Tonal’s content aims to keep it competitive with other home workout devices such as Mirror or Peloton. On-demand workouts include strength training tutorials, yoga, pilates, barre, and meditation classes.
Tonal Home Gym Cons
The Price: Tonal’s most significant barrier to entry is the price. The system starts at $3,000, but you’ll need the accessories package and monthly membership to reap the full benefits. Unless you’re a contractor, you’ll also need the $250 white-glove installation service. This puts your commitment for one year of workouts at closer to $4,400.
The Installation: While relatively space-saving and suitable for apartment dwellers, Tonal does have a few installation requirements. You must mount it to a sturdy wall with studs. The area must also be free from wires or plumbing. You’ll need a power outlet within 6 feet of the device and a connection to WiFi.
The Spotter: While Tonal’s AI is undoubtably appealing, some believe the technology errs on the side of safety a little too much. At least one reviewer has said Tonal’s spotter kicks in too early and too often, making it difficult to challenge yourself at heavy loads.
The Resistance: While Tonal’s chain mode does its best to mimic variable resistance, it’s still a cable-based weight trainer. However, the dynamic weight modes provide a great workout, especially when compared to old-school dumbells.
Tonal offers a combined resistance of 200 pounds. This equates to 100 pounds of resistance per cable, or per arm. For some users, this may not be enough to trigger muscular hypertrophy, particularly when performing lower body exercises. Future updates will likely address these limitations.
X3 and the Promise of Variable Resistance
X3 Bar is a total-body strength-building device which utilizes variable resistance instead of weights or cables. Users stand on a steel plate and hold a familiar barbell for a solid foundation and grip while performing the exercises. Powerful latex resistance bands provide over 600 pounds of resistance.
X3 Bar Pros
The Size: The X3 Bar is a compact device that can easily be stored under your bed or carried in a suitcase for travel. The user needs no more than 16 square feet of space in which to perform all the exercises. There’s no need for an expensive accessories package, weight bench, or yoga mat. Everything you need for total body strength training arrives with your first purchase.
The Resistance: Multiple bands offer between 10 and 600 pounds of resistance, a relevant load for strength training no matter your strength. The X3 bar is suitable for those new to exercise and trusted by professional athletes worldwide.
Safety: The X3 bar reduces the risk of injury compared to lifting traditional free weights. Variable resistance builds strength without taxing joints like free weights1 do. The bar and plate make it possible to use incredibly strong resistance bands with no risk of injury to wrists or ankles.
The Workout: X3 Bar comes complete with a free 12-week workout program for building strength and reducing body fat. The 10-minute daily workout has been scientifically proven2 to build strength faster than traditional weightlifting. And there’s no need for a monthly membership.
The Community: A supportive online community offers motivation and inspiration, and the X3 Bar’s inventor, Dr. John Jaquish, is a frequent participant in daily discussions. Support includes a free, comprehensive nutrition plan as well as video tutorials.
X3 Bar Cons
The Tech: The X3 Bar won’t track your data the way Tonal home gym does. The device won’t count your reps for you, and you’ll receive no stats on heart rate. If you want to compare yourself to others in your age group, you’ll have to ask around. There are no badges to unlock. If you prefer to work out with music, well, you’ll have to use another device for that.
The Classes: X3 Bar focuses on one thing; movement that builds muscle and reduces fat. It doesn’t come with dance cardio, kickboxing, or ‘family fun’ classes as Tonal does. The good news is, building muscle, not cardio3, is the best way to burn fat. If strength gains are what you’re interested in, there’s no better device.
X3 vs Tonal
If variety is of the utmost importance, Tonal might be the right home gym for you. It’s chock full of pre-recorded classes, and a variety of pre-programmed strength workouts means you’ll never get bored.
If results are your main focus, you’ll want a device that allows you to lift heavier4 and lift to fatigue5. And if timely results are important, why not spend just 10 minutes per day for three times the weightlifting gains?
|X3 Bar||Tonal Home Gym|
|Expense||One time cost||Initial cost plus ongoing monthly membership fee|
|Accessories||Comes with everything you need||Requires accessories package for full functioning|
|Installation||No installation required||$250 installation required|
|Resistance||Variable resistance, scientifically proven to build strength faster than with weight lifting||Cable-based magnetic resistance|
|Maximum load||Over 600 pounds of maximum resistance||Up to 200 pounds of maximum resistance|
|Workout plan||Free 12-week workout plan||Pre-recorded classes available for monthly membership fee|
|Time commitment||10 minutes a day||30–60 minutes daily|
|Endorsed by professional athletes?||Yes. Professional powerlifters and bodybuilders, NBA and NFL athletes all rely on X3||Athletes who endorse Tonal are also investors|
When considering the X3 Bar vs Tonal, what you’re really comparing is cable-based magnetic resistance versus latex band variable resistance. Scientific studies6 continue to demonstrate that variable resistance is the most effective way to build strength. While there is currently one study7 underway involving the Tonal home gym and low back pain, results have yet to be published.
If weight loss and strength training gains are your goal, you can rest assured you’ll get results in less time and for less money with X3.
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